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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)

TITLE: Don’t Watch Me Mommy
By Debbie Roome


“Hannah Montanna DVD, SingStar game, my teddy.” I stuff it all into my backpack. “I’m ready to go, Mommy.”

She stops rolling out pastry. “I’ll walk you down the road.”


Mom looks surprised.

“I’m big enough to walk to Sarah’s house by myself. It’s only one block.”

“You are growing up, Abby, but it’s not safe for you to walk around by yourself.”

I roll my eyes and look heavenwards – an expression I learned from my teenage sister. “It’s just one block. I’ll call you when I get there.”

“No, Abby.”

She seems less bossy now and I decide to try again. “I’ll walk by the houses and I won’t go near the road.” I lift my backpack over my shoulders. “I’ll call you in five minutes.”


“I’ll be fine.” I shout as I walk down the garden path. “And don’t watch me, Mommy. I’m not a baby.”

I feel free as I open the garden gate and step onto the sidewalk. The grass is soft and green and the sun is shining. It’s eight gateways to Sarah’s house and I’ve walked there a hundred times with Mom. I try to whistle but my lips still can’t get the sound to come out right. Instead I hum my favourite tune.

I’m walking past the third gateway when I hear a car slowing behind me. A man winds down the passenger window. “Excuse me, do you know where Lottering Street is?”

I feel worried inside. Mommy always tells me not to talk to strangers and I don’t know this man. I have a quick look at him. He has a big head with curly ginger hair and lots of teeth that are smiling at me. I keep walking and the car follows.

“Can you tell me what this road is then?” The worried feeling gets worse. Mom also says I mustn’t be rude. I slow down and take one step towards the car. “This is Taylor Street.” I tell him.

He smiles again but it’s a creepy smile, full of crooked teeth. “That’s very helpful, thank you.” I look back at the houses. I’m by gateway four now and start walking again.

“Would you like a chocolate for helping me?” He holds a Triple Deck up to his car window.

How did he know those are my best chocolates ever? I imagine biting through gooey raspberry, chocolate and vanilla. Mmm. I’ll just grab it and run. I tell myself. Mommy will never know.

“Come and get it, sweetheart.”

The man is sweating. I can see the drops on his face as I get closer and closer to him. I’m glad he’s not my daddy.

“That’s it, dear.” He waves the Triple Deck out the window.

As I reach out my hand, I hear a gate bang and the man does too. He jerks his head to look behind him.

“Abby! Abby!” Mommy is running down the street faster than I’ve ever seen her run.

The man drops the chocolate and it falls on the road as he takes off, smoke pouring from his tyres.

Mom throws her arms around me and picks me up. “Are you alright, Abs?”

There’s a funny feeling in my tummy. The man was a stranger and I shouldn’t have talked to him or wanted to take his chocolate. The feeling comes out of my eyes in tears and Mommy wipes them away.

“I got such a fright, Abby.”

She’s shaking and that makes me scared. “I’m sorry, Mommy. I didn’t listen to you.” I lay my head on her shoulder and it smells of pastry and clean washing; of safety and home.

We stand like that for a long time, until my eyes stop crying and Mommy stops shaking. Then I tell her the thought that’s going round and round in my heart. “I’m glad you were watching me, Mommy. I’m not as grown up as I thought I was.”

She kisses the top of my head. “I’ll always be watching out for you, Abby. That’s just how mommies are.”

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This article has been read 879 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 09/10/09
Oh man, I got goosebumps. Good story. So glad it had a happy ending.
Joy Faire Stewart09/12/09
You've woven an excellent lesson into this very interesting story. I was afraid it would be a sad ending.
Gregory Kane09/14/09
Nicely told. Mind you, I was expecting the girl to pick up the chocolate bar that the nasty man had left behind!
Chely Roach09/15/09
Having a daughter named Abby made this even a little more intense for me. My inner voice was pleading with her to stay away from him. Loved Abby's observation that her mom smelled like pastry and clean laundry. Ahh. So very relieved that all ended well. A very emotional piece.
Janice Fitzpatrick09/15/09
Great job. I was so relieved that this didn't end up tragically. Good descriptions and honest relateable feelings of a child that age. Reminds me of my own daughter and how much I want to keep her safe, often putting up with her own remarks of independence.:0) Well done!
Betty Castleberry09/15/09
Wow, this was an attention grabber. The ending could have been much different; I'm glad it wasn't. Well done.
Bryan Ridenour09/15/09
Very well written. My heart started racing when she went to the car. Praise God for mommies who really care. Well done.
Charla Diehl 09/15/09
Whew! I was praying for Abby that her mom was watching--good lesson here for kids today--thanks for ending this on a happy note.
Carol Wiley09/16/09
So glad your story had a watchful mommy. :-) Nice writing.
Lisa Johnson09/17/09
I was holding my breath, and waiting, hoping, praying for Abby's mom to show up. I had tears in my eyes when she finally did. Great story... great writing. Congratulations on your EC.
Beth LaBuff 09/17/09
This exquisite story is so relevant. Congrats on your EC, Debbie!
Sharlyn Guthrie09/17/09
This is a GREAT story! Children would definitely relate to it, and mommies, too. Congrats on your EC!